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Ex-Police Officer’s Trial in George Floyd’s Death Starts Monday

Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces murder charges in the death last May of a Black man, George Floyd. Floyd’s death in police custody triggered protests around the world.A 12-member jury and three alternates are set to hear the case, while testimony in the high-profile trial could last a month.  In this image taken from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, L, defendant former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, R, are seen during jury selection at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, March 22, 2021.The 45-year-old Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, who was 46. If convicted, Chauvin could face years in prison.Chauvin says he was following police training in arresting Floyd as he pinned him to a city street by keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. A shopkeeper had accused Floyd of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.Floyd died in custody after gasping that he could not breathe. Aside from claiming his client was following police training in the way the arrest was carried out, Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, is expected to argue that Floyd died from underlying medical conditions, not because Chauvin was holding him down on the street.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 8 MB480p | 11 MB540p | 14 MB720p | 28 MB1080p | 58 MBOriginal | 73 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioTrial in George Floyd Death Starts MondayIn a victory for the defense, the judge overseeing the trial said Nelson could tell the jury about a 2019 encounter between Floyd and Minneapolis police during which Floyd allegedly exhibited behavior similar to his actions in the incident in which he died.Nelson has said the 2019 incident is central to his argument that Floyd’s health issues and the level of drugs in his system killed him, not Chavin pinning him down on May 25, 2020.Prosecutors opposed admission of a two-minute video of the 2019 incident, contending that it was an attempt to tarnish Floyd’s character in the minds of the jurors.Street protests against police treatment of minorities, some of which turned violent, erupted in numerous U.S. cities and elsewhere throughout the world in the weeks after Floyd’s death.Over the last three weeks, the jury was picked to try the case. The panel, including the three alternates, is racially diverse.It includes six white women, three white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records.The city of Minneapolis agreed recently to pay Floyd’s relatives $27 million in damages to settle their claims of abuse in the case. But the trial was not delayed because of the settlement.

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Футбол: збірна України втратила перемогу в поєдинку з фінами

Французи з 4 очками очолюють групу, по 2 бали мають українці і фіни, одне очко – у боснійців, жодного балу – у команди Казахстану

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Суецький канал: спроби повернути Ever Given у фарватер наразі безуспішні

У зв’язку із затором, що утворився у вівторок, 23 березня, судноплавство в Суецькому каналі було перерване

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Зеленський обговорить ситуацію на сході України з лідерами «нормандської четвірки» – речниця

За словами Мендель, загострення ситуації особливо помітно на тлі перших місяців режиму припинення вогню

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Eddie Murphy Inducted into NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame 

Eddie Murphy was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame at the organization’s show that highlighted works by entertainers and athletes of color.   After Murphy accepted his induction award Saturday night, the actor-comedian said he was “very moved” by the honor. He was presented the award by his longtime friend and “Coming 2 America” co-star Arsenio Hall.   “I’ve been making movies for 40 years now … 40 years. This is the perfect thing to commemorate that and be brought into the hall of fame,” he said. “Thank you very much. I’m very moved.”   Murphy went on to send a message to Hall about his famous red leather suit from his 1983 stand-up special “Delirious.”   “My red suit was not that tight Arsenio,” Murphy said. “I get a lot of cracks about that red suit. When I was rocking that red suit, that [expletive] was fly.”   The hall of fame induction is bestowed on an individual who is viewed as a pioneer in their respective field and whose influence shaped the “profession for generations to come.”   Previous inductees include Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Spike Lee, Ray Charles and Sidney Poitier. The most recent honorees to be inducted were Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Paris Barclay in 2014.   Murphy began his career as a stand-up comic while as a teenager and eventually joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” He starred in the box office hit “48 Hours” and made his mark in a slew of films such as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Coming to America,” “The Nutty Professor,” “Dr. Dolittle” and “Dolemite Is My Name.” His latest film “Coming 2 America” was released on Amazon this month.   The awards ceremony virtually aired live on BET. It was also simulcast on CBS, MTV, VH1, MTV2, BET HER and LOGO.   “Black-ish” star and comedian Anthony Anderson hosted the show for the eighth consecutive year.   The late Chadwick Boseman won best actor in a motion picture for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The actor, who also starred in the blockbuster Marvel film “Black Panther,” died at 43 last year after he privately battled colon cancer.   “As always, he would give all honor and glory to the most high God,” said the teary-eyed Simone Ledward Boseman, the actor’s wife, who accepted the award on his behalf. “He would thank his mom and dad. And he would give honor to his ancestors as we now honor him. Thank you, NAACP, for always giving him his flowers. He was an uncommon artist and an even more uncommon person.”   Boseman spoke about how commonly Black people have been diagnosed with or died from colon cancer. She urged Black people over the age of 45 to get screened.   “Don’t put it off any longer,” she said. “Please, get screened. This disease is beatable if you catch it in its early stages. So, you don’t have any time to waste, even if you don’t have any family history. If you think nothing is wrong, and younger than 45, please be proactive about your health. Know the signs. Know your body. Listen to your body.”   LeBron James received the President’s Award for his public service achievements. He thanked the NAACP for recognizing his efforts beyond the basketball court.   The Los Angeles Lakers superstar was recognized for his efforts through his LeBron James Family Foundation and his I PROMISE School, a co-curricular educational initiative. Last year, he launched More Than a Vote — a coalition of Black athletes and artists — that is dedicated to educating and protecting Black voters.   James ventured into the entertainment realm with The SpringHill Company, which unites three companies he co-founded with Maverick Carter including athlete empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED, film and television production company SpringHill Entertainment and The Robot Company, the brand and culture consultancy.   “This award is so much more than myself,” James said. “I’m here receiving it, but this dives into everything that I’m a part of.”   DJ D-Nice took home entertainer of the year in a competitive category against big names such as Regina King, Tyler Perry, Viola Davis and Trevor Noah.   During the pandemic’s early stage, D-Nice created a virtual remedy for anyone dealing with the lockdown blues. He hosted Homeschool at Club Quarantine on his Instagram Live, where he spun popular tunes on the turntables at his home. An array of celebrities tuned in: Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg popped in for a listen.   “It’s been an honor to provide entertainment and inspiration during one of the darkest times we’ve experienced,” D-Nice said.   Michelle Obama presented Stacey Abrams with the first Social Justice Impact award. Abrams was honored for being a political force and her voting rights work that helped turn Georgia into a swing state.   Abrams paid homage to her parents for her upbringing.   “They taught me and my five siblings that having nothing was not an excuse for doing nothing,” she said. “Instead, they showed us by word and deed to use our faith as a shield to protect the defenseless, to use our voices to call out injustices, and to use our education and our time to solve the problems that others turn away from.”   Viola Davis took home best actress for her film and television roles in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” 

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Pope Leads Scaled-down Palm Sunday Service

Pope Francis led Palm Sunday services in an almost empty St. Peter’s Basilica because of coronavirus restrictions for the second consecutive year and he urged people to be close to the poor and suffering.   In pre-COVID times, Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week and leads to Easter, tens of thousands of people would pack St. Peter’s Square holding olive branches and intricately weaved palm fronds in an outdoor ceremony.  Instead, only about 120 members of the faithful participated in Sunday’s Mass, joining the pope and about 30 cardinals in a secondary wing of the huge basilica.  Italy is in the midst of another national lockdown, which is due to end after Easter. The Vatican, a sovereign city-state surrounded by Rome, has applied similar measures.  Nearly everyone who took part in the Mass, except the pope and the choir, wore masks.   The Vatican re-created the traditional Palm Sunday service, albeit on a much smaller scale, with the 84-year-old pope and the cardinals processing to the altar holding palm fronds.  Palm Sunday commemorates the day the gospels say Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed by the people, only to be crucified five days later.  During the Mass, the pope had a pronounced limp. He suffers from sciatica, which causes pain in his legs when it flares up.  In his homily during the Mass, televised and streamed worldwide, Francis encouraged people to keep their faith from growing dull from habit and to let themselves be amazed by God and by good.  “With the grace of amazement we come to realize that in welcoming the dismissed and discarded, in drawing close to those ill-treated by life, we are loving Jesus. For that is where he is: in the least of our brothers and sisters, in the rejected and discarded,” he said.  The remainder of the pope’s Holy Week services – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter next Sunday, also will take place with a limited number of participants. Italy has registered 107,636 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain. 

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Бойовики на Донбасі 7 разів порушили режим припинення вогню 28 березня – штаб ООС

«Втрат серед військовослужбовців Збройних сил України немає», – ідеться у вечірньому зведенні

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New York Lawmakers Agree to Legalize Recreational Marijuana 

Lawmakers reached an agreement late Saturday to legalize recreational marijuana sales in New York.  At least 14 other states already allow residents to buy marijuana for recreational and not just medical use, but New York’s past efforts to pass marijuana legalization have failed in recent years. Democrats who now wield a veto-proof majority in the state Legislature have made passing it a priority this year, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has estimated legalization could eventually bring the state about $350 million annually.  “My goal in carrying this legislation has always been to end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has taken such a toll on communities of color across our state, and to use the economic windfall of legalization to help heal and repair those same communities,” Sen. Liz Krueger, Senate sponsor of the bill and chair of the Senate’s finance committee, said.  The legislation would allow recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21, and set up a licensing process for the delivery of cannabis products to customers. Individual New Yorkers could grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption, and local governments could opt out of retail sales.  The legislation would take effect immediately if passed, though sales wouldn’t start immediately as New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated Friday it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.  Adam Goers, a vice president of Columbia Care, a New York medical marijuana provider that’s interested in getting into the recreational market, said New York’s proposed system would “ensure newcomers have a crack at the marketplace” alongside the state’s existing medical marijuana providers.  “There’s a big pie in which a lot of different folks are going to be able to be a part of it,” Goers said.  New York would set a 9% sales tax on cannabis, plus an additional 4% tax split between the county and local government. It would also impose an additional tax based on the level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, ranging from 0.5 cents per milligram for flower to 3 cents per milligram for edibles.  New York would eliminate penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis, and automatically expunge records of people with past convictions for marijuana-related offenses that would no longer be criminalized. That’s a step beyond a 2019 law that expunged many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts.  And New York would provide loans, grants and incubator programs to encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people from minority communities, as well as small farmers, women and disabled veterans.  Proponents have said the move could create thousands of jobs and begin to address the racial injustice of a decades-long drug war that disproportionately targeted minority and poor communities. “Police, prosecutors, child services and ICE have used criminalization as a weapon against them, and the impact this bill will have on the lives of our oversurveiled clients cannot be overstated,” Alice Fontier, managing director of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, said in a statement Saturday.  New York’s Legal Aid Society also hailed the agreement. “This landmark legislation brings justice to New York State by ending prohibition, expunging conviction records that have curtailed the opportunities of countless predominately young Black and Latinx New Yorkers, and delivers economic justice to ensure that communities who have suffered the brunt of aggressive and disparate marijuana enforcement are first in line to reap the economic gain,” the group said in a news release Sunday.  Melissa Moore, the Drug Policy Alliance’s director for New York state, said the bill “really puts a nail in the coffin of the drug war that’s been so devastating to communities across New York, and puts in place comprehensive policies that are really grounded in community reinvestment.”  Cuomo has pointed to growing acceptance of legalization in the Northeast, including in Massachusetts, Maine and most recently, New Jersey.  Past efforts to legalize recreational use have been hurt by a lack of support from suburban Democrats, disagreements over how to distribute marijuana sales tax revenue and questions over how to address drivers suspected of driving high.  It also has run into opposition from law enforcement, school and community advocates, who warn legalization would further strain a health care system already overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic and send mixed messages to young people. “We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the serious crisis of youth vaping and the continuing opioid epidemic, this harmful legislation is counterintuitive,” said an open letter signed by the Medical Society of the State of NY, New York State Parent Teacher Association, New York Sheriff’s Association and several other organizations March 11.  New York officials plan to launch an education and prevention campaign aimed at reducing the risk of cannabis among school-aged children, and schools could get grants for anti-vaping and drug prevention and awareness programs. And the state will also launch a study due by Dec. 31, 2022, that examines the extent that cannabis impairs driving, and whether it depends on factors like time and metabolism.  “One of the things that no country in the world has and everybody wants is a way to quickly and easily figure out if someone’s high or impaired on cannabis,” University of Buffalo psychologist and professor of community health and health behavior R. Lorraine Collins said. “Research is being done to find systems that can do that. But I think those efforts will not come to fruition for awhile.”  The bill also sets aside revenues to cover the costs of everything from regulating marijuana, to substance abuse prevention.  State police could also get funding to hire and train more so-called “drug recognition experts.”  But there’s no evidence that drug recognition experts can tell whether someone is high or not, according to Collins, who was appointed to Cuomo’s 2018 working group tasked with drafting cannabis regulations.  “I think it’s very important that we approach that challenge using science and research and not wishes or unsubstantiated claims,” Collins said.  Collins pointed to a 2020 report from the American Civil Liberties Union that found that Blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession compared to Whites, based on FBI statistics.  “Every New York should be concerned about how these laws will be implemented or how those ways of examining drivers will be implemented in different communities,” Collins said. “It’s not likely to be equal.”  The bill allows cities, towns and villages to opt out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by Dec. 31, 2021 or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. They cannot opt out of legalization.